News Release - Wildfire Update - July 27
Incident: Gold Pan Complex Wildfire
July 27, 2013 – 3:30 PM Contact: Public Affairs Officer: Tod McKay
Phone: 406-363-7122 / Cell: 406-531-1130
What: Gold Pan Complex (Gold Pan & Goat Fires)
Location: 35 miles SW of Sula, MT. in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
Jurisdiction: Bitterroot National Forest – West Fork Ranger District
Summary: The Gold Pan fire grew by 2,000 acres on Friday to 7,166 acres. The most active parts of the fire are on the northeast side near Gold Pan Creek and Langdon Gulch. The fire has moved within ½ mile of the historic Magruder Ranger Station and is burning in timber on both sides of the Selway River. Fire crews have installed sprinklers and cabin wrap (aluminized material offering protection from radiant heat) to protect buildings at the Magruder Ranger Station. Crews also wrapped Hells Half Lookout east of the ranger station on Friday with the protective wrap. See attached photos.
The Goat fire remains at 8 acres and is burning in timber approximately 2 miles southwest of the Gold Pan fire. It’s a “hold over” started by lightning on July 17th.
Due to Friday’s fire growth and the active wildfire conditions the Forest has implemented an emergency area closure on the West Fork Ranger District in the Frank Church Wilderness. The closure includes the Magruder Road Corridor which is closed at Nez Perce Pass on the Montana/Idaho line. See below for more closure information.
Terrain: Extremely steep, remote, rocky
Area Closure: To provide for public safety an emergency closure is in place for parts of the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho. The closure includes areas south of Magruder Road and Trail #37 to BeaverJack Mountain. The closure includes Trail #13 east towards Trail #36. To see a map of the closure visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/. All forest service roads and trails within this area are closed.
Magruder Road: Currently closed at Nez Perce Pass on the Montana-Idaho line. Road guards are in place to divert traffic. The road is closed for more than 20 miles between Nez Perce Pass and Observation Point.
Resources Ordered: Type 2 Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team (Hutton) has been ordered to manage the Gold Pan Complex Fire. The team arrived this afternoon and is expected to take over management of the fire on Monday. Three 20-person crews have also been ordered.
This will free up Bitterroot NF resources and crews to be available and respond to any new fire starts and “hold overs” from previous lightning. The Forest is expecting that more “hold overs” will be discovered along with new fire starts this weekend, as the weather continues to be hot and dry.
Smoke & Haze: Due to the location of the fires and fuels burning, smoke will likely continue to settle in the southern Bitterroot Valley, possibly drifting to North Fork and Salmon, Idaho. There are several fires burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest that are contributing to the smoke & haze this weekend in the Bitterroot Valley.
Weather: The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for increased fire danger this afternoon and evening for most parts of western Montana. Gusty winds of up to 30mph along with very low humidities could significantly increase fire danger and activity.
For the latest fire information and photos http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/